Health

Obama would seek nuclear ban if elected
October 2, 2007 08:28 PM - Andrew Stern

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Tuesday if elected president he would pursue a global ban on nuclear weapons as he sought to pick up ground on his front-running rival, Hillary Clinton.

"Here's what I'll say as president: America seeks a world in which there are no nuclear weapons," Obama said.

Obama marked the five-year anniversary of a speech he gave as a U.S. Senate candidate outlining his opposition to the Iraq war, noting it came just 10 days before his top rival for the party nomination, New York Sen. Clinton, voted to back the invasion of Iraq.

"Let's be clear: without that vote, there would be no war," Obama told DePaul University students. "This is not just a matter of debating the past. It's about who has the best judgment to make the critical decisions of the future."

Obesity may push U.S. health costs above Europe: study
October 2, 2007 12:31 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly twice as many U.S. adults are obese compared to European, a key factor leading Americans to suffer more often from cancer, diabetes and other chronic ailments, a study released on Tuesday found.

Treatment of these and other chronic diseases adds between $100 billion and $150 billion to the annual health care tab in the United States, according to the report comparing U.S. and European health published online in the journal Health Affairs.

The United States spends significantly more per capita than any European country on health care, about $2 trillion annually, or 16 percent of the gross domestic product. While the big discrepancy has been linked to higher U.S. prices for medical treatment, the report said a sicker population may also be a factor.

Not all types of fat are harmful
October 2, 2007 08:22 AM - Tan Ee Lyn -Reuters

While it has long been held that too much fat in the liver may result in diabetes, researchers appear to have discovered that not all types of fat are harmful.

Writing in the latest issue of Nature Medicine, a group of Japanese scientists described how they changed the fat composition in the livers of mutant mice and fed them exactly the same rich, fatty diet as other mice.

Researchers surprised so few kids take vitamins
October 1, 2007 06:23 PM - Will Dunham, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Less than a third of U.S. children are taking vitamin and mineral dietary supplements, according to a study published on Monday by researchers who were surprised the number was so low.

All told, 32 percent of U.S. children used a dietary supplement in the past month, based on a nationally representative survey from 1999 to 2002 that included 10,136 children age 18 or younger, the researchers said.

The most commonly used supplements were multivitamins and multiminerals, taken by 18 percent of the children. Another 4 percent used single-vitamin supplements and 2 percent used single-mineral supplements, and just under 1 percent used botanical supplements, the researchers said.

Beverly Hills bans smoking at outdoor restaurants
October 1, 2007 05:56 PM -

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Outdoor smoking at Beverly Hills restaurants was officially banned on Monday under a city law aimed at promoting a healthier environment for diners in the home to the stars.

Smokers who light up on outdoor restaurant and bar patios face fines ranging from $100 for a first offense to $500 for persistent offenders as the ordinance took effect in the city famous for its Rodeo Drive designer shopping street.

It applies to virtually all outdoor restaurants and hotels, including celebrity haunts like the Caffe Roma and Spago patios frequented by cigar-loving California governor and former action star Arnold Schwarzenegger.

USDA seeks help from consumers after beef recall
October 1, 2007 05:44 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture Department on Monday said consumers play a major role in avoiding any of the 21.7 million pounds of ground beef, at risk for the E. coli bacteria, flagged in the fifth-largest meat recall in U.S. history.

The recall by Topps Meat Company LLC has generated reports of 27 illnesses suspected to be linked to the recalled meat, USDA said, but just three have been confirmed.

The department suspended the raw processed meat operations of Topps on September 26 after an initial recall of 331,582 pounds of frozen ground beef products.

"This is frozen product" and could still be in home freezers, said Richard Raymond, the Agriculture Department's undersecretary for food safety. He added that "consumers have a big role" in getting the meat out of circulation.

Killer Amoeba Blamed for Six Deaths
October 1, 2007 03:50 PM - Chris Kahn, AP, Lisa Vorderbruggen, Contra Costa Times / MCT

PHOENIX (Sept. 29) — It sounds like science fiction but it's true: A killer amoeba living in lakes enters the body through the nose and attacks the brain where it feeds until you die.
 
Even though encounters with the microscopic bug are extraordinarily rare, it's killed six boys and young men this year. The spike in cases has health officials concerned, and they are predicting more cases in the future.

"This is definitely something we need to track," said Michael Beach, a specialist in recreational waterborne illnesses for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This is a heat-loving amoeba. As water temperatures go up, it does better," Beach said. "In future decades, as temperatures rise, we'd expect to see more cases."

Importers Cry Politics Over Tough Taiwan Food Inspections
October 1, 2007 09:51 AM - Reuters

TAIPEI - A row that began a year ago when Taiwan rejected Chinese crabs containing a banned substance has spread to other imports from pork to wheat, raising the ire of trading partners who accuse the country of protectionism.  Taiwan says that concerns for the public health are behind tougher inspection standards, which trace their roots back to last fall when crabs from China were found to contain traces of the banned antibiotic nitrofuran. The new policy has already threatened the wheat imports - upon which it relies to meet its milling needs, cutting market access for U.S. producers who are the island's largest foreign suppliers.

Smoking is a turn-on for some genes: study
September 30, 2007 05:43 PM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Smoking may turn on some genes in the body in a permanent and harmful way, scientists said on Thursday in a study that may help explain why the risk of cancer remains high even after smokers quit.

They found many genetic changes that stop when a smoker quits, but found several genes that stay turned on for years, including several not previously linked with tobacco use.

"These irreversible changes may account for the persistent lung cancer risk despite smoking cessation," the researchers wrote in their report, published in BioMed Central journal BMC Genomics.

Tropical Storm Juliette forms in Mexican Pacific
September 30, 2007 05:27 PM - Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Juliette formed in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico and was forecast to whirl along off the Baja California peninsula over the next few days, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Sunday.

Juliette was carrying maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (72 kph) and was more than 350 miles southwest of the peninsula.

The center described Juliette as a "weaker storm" that could lose force as it hit cooler waters.

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